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High grade isthmic spondylolisthesis; can reduction always re-align the unbalanced pelvis? – Back Pain Doctor Harley Street

High grade isthmic spondylolisthesis; can reduction always re-align the unbalanced pelvis?


Recently, various studies have reported the importance of distinguishing between balanced and unbalanced SL, sustaining the importance of SL reduction in unbalanced cases. In this study we present our experience in the treatment of isthmic spondylolisthesis in young patients, observing the correlation between SL reduction and sagittal correlation between spine and pelvis.


This is a retrospective study of a series of patients treated surgically for isthmic spondylolisthesis. Inclusion criteria were L5-S1 isthmic spondylolisthesis of III° or IV°, pediatric age, clinical and radiographic follow up of at least 1 year. Radiographic evaluation included the following elements: grade and percentage of listhesis (%L), lumbar lordosis (LL), lumbar-sacral angle (LSA), pelvic incidence (PI), sacral slope (SS), pelvic tilt (PT) distinguishing between “balanced” and “unbalanced” patients. Radiographic values were confronted by using Student’s t- test, obtaining a statistically significant difference for values inferior to 0,05.


Based on inclusion criteria, 28 patients were selected for our retrospective analysis, 19 female and 9 male. Mean age at surgery was 15,6 years. Mean follow up was 3 years and 3 months (min. 1 year – max 6 years and 7 months). Spondylolisthesis reduction was statistically significant both in balanced and in unbalanced patients, but pelvic incidence values did not improve significantly. We observed fewer mechanical complications in patients treated with interbody support.


In our study, differences between pre-op and post-op spinopelvic alignment values were not statistically significant, even though spondylolisthesis reduction was statistically significant in all cases. Our study could be considered an initial attempt to correlate spinopelvic changes to spondylolisthesis reduction in a progressive manner, and possibly in the future, generate threshold values of reduction for ideal spinopelvic alignment in every different patient.

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